Hex bar vs Straight bar - Weight Lifting

I have recently made the switch from an olympic bar to a hex bar, specifically for deadlifts. I am very tall and have always felt a bit unstable when deadlifting but this problem is now almost gone with the hex bar. You can also flip it over to make a slightly harder lift (not using the handles). In terms of physical differences I feel like my quads are a little more loaded up with the hex bar and my back a little less so, but that’s just my experience.

Yeah it was a recent podcast too, I think the one Keegan was on?

1 Like

It was the recent podcasts that persuaded me to give the hex bar a try.

1 Like

If someone is just learning to deadlift I definitely would not suggest a mixed grip. They are way likely to try to curl the bar and jack up their bicep or elbow. And unless you are competing in powerlifting then I don’t think the asymmetry that it imposes is worth it.

The grip strength may help prevent people from going too heavy starting out and then they can learn to hook grip later on. It’s a bit more difficult but has almost none of the downsides of mixed grip.

Or just use straps for the DL…

+1 Never use a mixed grip to deadlift! (Unless your Shane Hamman) Suck it up, buttercup, and learn how to hook grip.

In addition to maximizing the risk of rolling your bicep up to your delts, lifters usually favor a mixed grip in one direction only. That results in a little bit of ‘torso torsion’ every deadlift…which results in a little bit of unbalanced load on the spine…which results in a little bit of muscle mismatch…which can contribute to injury.


Yup. If you go into a powerlifting gym and look at anyone older than 30 or 35 you can almost immediately tell (A) who uses mixed grip and (B) which way they do their grip. They’ll have developed rear delta and good posture with on shoulder and then a slouch with the other.

Unless they do a ton of accessory work to try to correct it. But more than half of the people who used to lift at that gym had torn their biceps at some point.

Yeah you could definitely use straps but if you are just starting out I think that exponentially raises the possibility of you lifting more than your strength and form can handle.

I have nothing against straps for intermediate to advanced lifters for their top-ish sets. But I don’t think I would ever recommend that a beginner uses them.

Not that I’m a strength training professional but that’s just my experience and 2 cents.

Regarding the grip, in the past when I was progressing through deadlift, I would just use straight grip and if at some point that was the limiting factor so be it. A week or so later the grip would become stronger and I could proceed increasing weight again.

I love deadlifts, that’s what you get for scoring so high on the ape index. Benchpress on the other hand, sucks.

Same. I could never bench even close to 400…even equipped. But if you weren’t more than 100lbs ahead of me when the bar hit the floor you were probably toast.

And my snatch looks like a spider monkey trying to lift.

1 Like

Have to disagree about the hook grip. As a surgeon, that would trash my hands.

I understand why you might think that. Here’s where practical application and theoretical knowledge can intersect for the betterment of actual people: it won’t. :smiley: It just doesn’t. Don’t know why.

For the type of weights a cyclist will lift…let’s say less than 3x bodyweight…guaranteed it’s not a (hand) injury concern. Mixed grip, on the other hand, is a REAL injury concern.

If you’re reading this and you can’t put in the time to learn hook gripping, just use straps. Not the kind that have a sewn loop that fixes them around your wrist. Just a simple pair of straps…here are my straps. They’re, like, two decades old.


Is there consensus on that? Pretty sure I’ve heard the opposite.

Thanks for all the replies so far.

A lot of the conversation seems to focus on purely deadlifting. What about using the hex bar for squats? I see an advantage being that you wouldn’t need a rack to get the bar up on to shoulders.

If a hex bar from the floor can cover a squat movement and a deadlift-like movement then it would be very efficient for the investment in space.

:smiley: You hear all sorts of goofy stuff around the gym. You might hear that the noon sky is zebra striped purple. Or might hear that taking androstenedione will increase your testosterone/estrogen ratio (if you’re a dude). All untrue. In spite of ‘consensus’ widely disbelieving the latter. :joy: :rofl: How many young men spent hundreds of dollars to jack up their estrone/estradiol back when andro wasn’t a controlled substance? Ha!

Anyhow…take it from me…many, many biceps have been torn deadlifting. It’s always the supinated gripping arm where the bicep rolls up. That doesn’t even address this issue of imbalanced trunk/spine muscular.

Don’t use mixed grip. Suck it up and learn to hook grip.

I do not agree that hex is just as dangerous as deadlift. Hex is a lot safer on the lower back. Of course both can be dangerous when done with improper form but deadlift requires much more flexibility and puts a much higher force on the low back. Hex allows you to sit more upright and transfer more of the force to the legs.

Hex = more quads

Deadlift = more back, glutes, hamstrings

Personally I would just do hex deadlifts as a cyclist if you’re not an experienced lifter. Although the benefit of strengthening the core and lower back from a deadlift could be very helpful for longer rides I imagine

Just doing Hex deadlifts is a great place to start imo. Range of motion is a lot less than a squat, making the lift a million times easier and safer if flexibility and/or mobility is an issue for you.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who understand the relative injury risk of deadlifting with a trap bar and those who will find out. :smiley:

But LET ME BE CLEAR!! Cyclist’s don’t need to do any type of deadlift to reap the full performance benefits of strength training. I’ve already posted on this forum a pretty comprehensive thread about the benefits of strength training, exercises required, and programs to achieve those benefits. Not from me, but from peer reviewed papers.

Deadlift, trap bar or otherwise, does not make the list. If you are a cyclist you can get all the benefits of strength training without deadlifting. I just do it because I like deadlifting. If you’re not a guy who likes to deadlift and you are just engaging in strength training to improve cycling performance my recommendation is that the injury risk of deadlifting does not justify the additional performance benefit (which is zero) you get from doing it vs other exercises.

Rippetoe would disagree with you on this.

I agree, I probably wouldn’t have serious cyclists deadlifting unless they had a qualified coach. Barbell or dumbbell lunges make more sense to me, with a lower risk. More closely matches force distribution that cyclists put out anyway—more legs less back